What common Indian citizen thinks in mid 2021

In 1991, India opened to the world under Manmohan Singh as finance minister. It was called liberalization of the economy. In simple words: India became global for the first time.

MNCs were set up, jobs acquired, savings and spending increased, economic growth became possible. This gave us hope for a bright future.

Our politicians in the day gave assurance that we will beat China and America soon. “Mumbai will be Shanghai. “This was our 2000s sense of optimism when IITians were no longer leaving. They were launching their own companies here. In fact, people were coming back.

What happened then

Cut to Today, 1000s of High Net Worth Individuals are leaving India. Here, we dislike even the word immigrant and globally we are No.1 country in emigrants! As you know, our economy has taken a hit. We have the same problems today: Wealth disparity, joblessness, poor helplessness.

Did farmers’ income double? No. Did GDP double in size? No. But the number of poor doubled. We used to be an example of unity in diversity but slowly it’s becoming the opposite.

We were a successful example of democracy. These days you may have heard ‘flawed democracy’, ‘partly free’, ‘electoral autocracy’.

Few years ago we used to openly criticize the system and government. Not today. The once vibrant and thriving press is ranked 142nd globally. It’s sinking as we speak. Robust judiciary system is putting contempt charges on comedians and cartoonists. Important cases are yet to be heard.

How did we come to this? What changed?

In the last 7 years how did we convert from a rising star to an international joke? Forget China, our per capita GDP is less than that of Bangladesh. We call Bangladeshi immigrants ‘termites’ but are they earning more than us? I hear ‘Go to Bangladesh’ no longer! Where did we go wrong? Were we misguided? Or did we deliberately change course from the path of progress to the path of hatred?

Economic growth has been slowing down since 2012. In the last three years of UPA, there were so many scams, remember? Policy paralysis strangled the government. Media and the opposition, on the other hand, grabbed the opportunity. Public image of Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh was dismantled and they could do nothing. Women safety, petrol prices, jobs…so much mismanagement.

 On top of that, Narendra Modi’s following soared.

Public had decided the winner of 2014. People liked the promises of Vikas. Taking black money back. 15 lakhs. Acche din, etc. Their campaign for election was played on 2 levels, an actual masterstroke.

Level 1 in public: Agenda of development. Good governance. Digital India. Nepotism free India. Aspiring India. Etc. Level 2 was darker. It was a campaign of identity. ‘We are in danger’, ‘reviving ancient pride’, ‘dream of Akhand Bharat’, ‘1 dollar = 1 rupee’ Etc.

No one can say for sure as to what happened to Level 1 promises. Is Make in India successful? Nobody knows. Level 2 is coming true though. Temple construction, CAA implementation coming soon, detention camps, politics on identity at play, etc. Kashmir has been integrated by the removal of Art.370. Perhaps PoK is next? #AkhandBharat

Most people were happy. That’s why in 2019 Narendra Modi won with a historic majority. Nobody can see an alternative for 2024.That’s why, maybe, the government is confident about the future. If not Modi, then who? You will say who cares? Believe it or not but millions do.

For them, hyper-nationalism, religious identity, and minority hating are addictive. But it’s a self-sabotaging process, like taking real drugs, because it’s showing adverse effects on society. Naseeruddin Shah said: ‘Don’t ask who burnt the village. Ask who handed over the match.’ Well put. Today, aren’t we divided? 

Countries like China are taking this opportunity.

Our government is adamant to take on its own citizens. Farmers, students, journalists, NGOs, academia, social workers, lawyers, intellectuals. Whoever raises their voice is being silenced. Criticism is being ignored.

Demonetization was the first big step towards downfall. Very few questioned the logic, the implementation, the advantages. BBC called it an epic failure. But today nobody would question the move.

Then, GST. More like an event management: Second independence or so it was called. Businessmen did not question the proposed tax slabs. Then they struggled. Even today thousands are losing jobs as small businesses are shutting down. But GST remains.

Then CAA. A proposal to invite people of endangered religions. Then, NRC. Do you understand chronology? They led to country wide protests without any political backing. Already many had started to see through.

Then, unplanned lockdown due to corona. Or, demonetization part 2.Ok it was an emergency situation but why without consultation? What about daily wage workers?

Not only the economy but people also suffered due to the first wave. Poor doubled and for the first time since the 90s, the middle class shrunk in size. Amid pandemic, enter new farm bills. They passed despite opposition ruckus. It led to Farmers’ protests.

Apart from these masterstrokes, promises weren’t kept. Employment, prices, women safety, economy, cleaning Ganga, etc. The biggest of all shocks has been the second wave since April 2021.There was no accountability. People turned to social media out of despair.

Is everything alright when there is FIR against those who speak too much? Bodies floating in the river Ganga. Still no awareness. Quiet is public. We have let this arrogance thrive. We ignored superstition and hateful behavior. Hence, the situation today.

When doctors and nurses are trying their level best to defeat corona, Ramdev Baba here says that Allopathy is stupid science. Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur said cow urine can heal coronavirus infection. When foreign media mock these claims, IT cells blame international conspiracy. George Soros is responsible?

The ones who run this country are taking their roles lightly.

Today we are short of vaccines despite being one of the largest vaccine manufacturers. Aren’t we in trouble then? .The question is, what can those who are awake and aware do?

Here are steps to bring India back on track…

First, we are a partial democracy. Many restrictions already exist. Many journalists are under pressure. So, a common person should start asking questions. We are yet to go through the financial impact of the second wave. Let’s ask what the government is doing now? At what percentage will we grow over years to come?

Projects worth 21 lakh crore are at a standstill and why? Let’s say no to hate and bigotry like we say no to drugs. Otherwise this fire will engulf us in its hateful flames. Deflate propaganda. According to the government, from Rihanna to the opposition, everyone has a toolkit.

International media is also conspiring against BJP? Only the supreme leader is correct and everyone else is wrong. Where are our democratic institutions? Have you ever asked? Do you care? It is said that corruption has declined but concerns have been raised over misuse of electoral bonds. Issues raised by the people must be taken up first.

Kashmir, freedom of speech, new IT rules…so much going on and so little being said. Only the Supreme Court can save. Silencing people has become common. With stringent provisions it is hard to even get bail when you know you’re innocent.

We worry too much all the time. But, no worries. If asking questions is illegal, then, what to do? Your support matters most. You have to raise your voice before it is too late. Kashmir turned to union territory. Delhi being turned into a municipality.

Vote for MP not for PM so that terror accused like Pragya Thakur are not elected. Also, make sure to quit seeing Modi media. Please stop watching 9 PM debates. Go digital instead; many of them are doing actual ground reporting.

This is a difficult time for our country. Not many can understand that.

 But there is hope if we do. India can benefit out of the US-China trade war. Our tech industry is unparalleled. Less talk, more action. Because young India is entrepreneurial in nature. Really revolutionary labour reforms are needed and not like agricultural reforms. We can definitely become a 5 trillion USD economy. But together is the way forward. We cannot progress if we are divided.

Nobody can force the government to work except people and their collective voice. Because, the government is only afraid of people, their voice. So speak now. If not now then when?

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